Centralized Kitchens Are The Secret To Zippy’s Success  - Honolulu Civil Beat

About the Author

Jason Higa

Jason Higa is the CEO of FCH Enterprises, the parent entity of Zippy's Restaurants. The company was founded by brothers Francis and Charlie Higa in 1966. Jason Higa is the second generation to run the business.

The students in Hawaii’s Department of Education stand to benefit from the concept.

The proof is in the pudding (or chili in Zippy’s case) — the central kitchen concept works when mass meal preparation and distribution is required. Zippy’s, like the Hawaii Department of Education, feeds thousands daily across the state.

Zippy’s is Hawaii’s a first stop for local favorites and plate lunches and the largest locally owned restaurant chain in the state. With 22 locations on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island and a future Las Vegas location to open this year, we are a staple of Hawaii’s food and agriculture ecosystem.

The secret to our success: our not-so-secret centralized kitchen.

Our centralized kitchen concept has helped us ensure consistent food safety, quality, and, most importantly, taste. I can confidently say, the same would be true for the DOE, where plans are already under way.

Our USDA-certified central kitchen helps ensure that the quality of our food satisfies our customers from Hawaii Kai to Kapolei and beyond.

At Zippy’s, we pride ourselves on sourcing our products from local farmers. It’s encouraging to know that the DOE believes in the same purchasing practice of buying local.

Through the centralized kitchen concept, purchasing and contracts for all products are consolidated. This plays a critical role in our efforts to support the local agriculture industry.

Food transport trucks for Zippy’s, which uses centralized kitchen’s. (Courtesy Zippy’s/2023)

Executing purchase agreements at each Zippy’s restaurant would be economically and logistically ineffective. Our central kitchen also helps to supplant food from mainland exports and support our local farmers.

The partnerships that we establish with farmers and local food manufacturers are invaluable. Zippy’s stands proud to say that our beloved chili is made of 100% local beef.

All of our saimin dishes are made with Sun Noodle saimin noodles which are locally produced here in Hawaii. Sugarland Growers supplies our tomatoes and we buy local products such as Japanese cucumbers, green onions, papaya, eggplant whenever it’s available. All the eggs used at the Zippy’s locations are local eggs, and we’ve supported Eggs Hawaii for many years.

Finally, the central kitchen concept helps ensure that each restaurant maintains a level of quality that our customers deserve.

The students of the DOE stand to reap the same benefits with a centralized kitchen.

I applaud the DOE for their foresight in implementing the concept.

Community Voices aims to encourage broad discussion on many topics of community interest. It’s kind of a cross between Letters to the Editor and op-eds. This is your space to talk about important issues or interesting people who are making a difference in our world. Column lengths should be no more than 800 words and we need a photo of the author and a bio. We welcome video commentary and other multimedia formats. Send to news@civilbeat.org. The opinions and information expressed in Community Voices are solely those of the authors and not Civil Beat.

Read this next:

How Much Longer Before There Is Pay Equity For Women?

Local reporting when you need it most

Support timely, accurate, independent journalism.

Honolulu Civil Beat is a nonprofit organization, and your donation helps us produce local reporting that serves all of Hawaii.


About the Author

Jason Higa

Jason Higa is the CEO of FCH Enterprises, the parent entity of Zippy's Restaurants. The company was founded by brothers Francis and Charlie Higa in 1966. Jason Higa is the second generation to run the business.

Latest Comments (0)

Mr. Higa's input is appreciated, but keep in mind we cannot fact check this press release. Are you sure Eggs Hawaii doesn't bring its eggs in from the continental 48? One of their competitors/neighbors once told me this when I bought eggs in Kalihi. Mr. Higa & family may be wealthy & successful, but I do not aspire to have my family eat at Zippy's on a regular basis. I would also argue that the family's success is just as much about wise real estate investment, & decades of federal government subsidies for fossil fuels, meat, dairy, and corn, as it was due to the decision to centralize the kitchen. If the average fast food restaurant margin is 15% (or less), how much of that profit comes from the syrupy soda & "juices" which aren't prepared in a centralized kitchen?I appreciate in years past Zippy's promoted & sold plant-based foods as part of the Terry Shintani diet. If the govt subsidized Shintani diet foods, these fruits and vegetables would be cheaper and would have sold in greater volumes at Zippy's, perhaps remaining on menu. Fresh cooked organic fruits n veggies cannot compete on price w subsidized industrial animal ag or high fructose corn syrup.

luckyd · 6 months ago

Centralized Kitchen.Decentralized school system.

MauiBoy · 6 months ago

It’s nice you got your own article to promote your fast food restaurant, but I don’t believe that’s what most farm to school advocates are seeking to emulate for their children. One of the main points of farm to school is providing healthy and fresh food, with lots of vegetables that kids are excited to eat. You’re not going to get that from a fast food vision.

FactsnOpinions · 6 months ago

Join the conversation


IDEAS is the place you'll find essays, analysis and opinion on every aspect of life and public affairs in Hawaii. We want to showcase smart ideas about the future of Hawaii, from the state's sharpest thinkers, to stretch our collective thinking about a problem or an issue. Email news@civilbeat.org to submit an idea.


You're officially signed up for our daily newsletter, the Morning Beat. A confirmation email will arrive shortly.

In the meantime, we have other newsletters that you might enjoy. Check the boxes for emails you'd like to receive.

  • What's this? Be the first to hear about important news stories with these occasional emails.
  • What's this? You'll hear from us whenever Civil Beat publishes a major project or investigation.
  • What's this? Get our latest environmental news on a monthly basis, including updates on Nathan Eagle's 'Hawaii 2040' series.
  • What's this? Get occasional emails highlighting essays, analysis and opinion from IDEAS, Civil Beat's commentary section.

Inbox overcrowded? Don't worry, you can unsubscribe
or update your preferences at any time.